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Volume 1, Issue 7, November-2018: 78-89

International Journal of Current Innovations in Advanced Research ISSN: 2636-6282

Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Hypertension


among Hypertensive Patients at Buchi Clinic, Kitwe,
Zambia
Ikasaya, I., MBChB,1 Mwanakasale, V1., Ph.D., Kabelenga, E.
M.Sc.1, 2*
1
Micheal Chilufya Sata School of Medicine, Copperbelt University, P.O Box 71191, Ndola
10101, Zambia
2
Ndola College of Nursing and Midwifery, Private Agency, Ndola 10101, Zambia
*
Corresponding Author: E-mail: ikasayai@gmail.com

Abstract:
Background: Hypertension is one of the most common health problems in the world and
happens to be the leading risk factor for mortality. Knowledge, attitudes and life style
modifications of patients play an important role in controlling hypertension and preventing
the long-term complications. The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge,
attitudes and practices and their compliance to medication among Hypertensive Patients at
Buchi Clinic, Kitwe.
Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 90 randomly selected participants was
conducted. Data was collected from June to August 2018 at Buchi Clinic, Kitwe, Zambia. A
suitably designed questionnaire consisting of 30 questions was used to determine the KAP
scores. The data was entered in SPSS Version 20 and analysed.
Results: A total of 90 patients participated and the majority (78.8%) were males. About half
(52.2%) were aged between 45 to 64 years. About 32.2%, had received only primary
education and nearly 3 out of 4 (77.8%) were unemployed. More than half (54.4%) had
hypertension for 5 years or more. The knowledge and practice towards hypertension was
found to be average, whereas the attitude was found to be good. Statistically significant
association was found between knowledge and practice (p = 0.023).
Conclusions: The current knowledge, attitude and practice among hypertensive patients at
Buchi Clinic, Kitwe Zambia is inadequate and should therefore be improved.
Keywords: hypertension, knowledge, attitudes, practice, medication adherence, Buchi Kitwe
Zambia.

Citation: Ikasaya, I., Mwanakasale, V. and Kabelenga, E. 2018. Knowledge, Attitudes and
Practices of Hypertension among Hypertensive Patients at Buchi Clinic, Kitwe, Zambia.
International Journal of Current Innovations in Advanced Research, 1(7): 78-89.
Copyright: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction
in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright©2018;
Ikasaya, I., Mwanakasale, V. and Kabelenga, E.

Introduction
Non communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and
chronic respiratory diseases are now the leading cause of death in most regions of the world
(Reshma and Keneda, 2015). Africa the home of low and middle income countries is
expected to have NCDs as the leading cause of death by 2030 because nearly half of the

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International Journal of Current Innovations in Advanced Research ISSN: 2636-6282
population in this region already suffers from hypertension (WHO, 2014). Hypertension is
ranked as one of leading causes of medical admission and mortality among adult patients at
University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia (Nyirenda et al., 2003) and its prevalence in
Kitwe, Zambia is at 31.8% (Siziya et al., 2012). Hypertension is defined as elevated blood
pressure of 130 mmHg and higher for systolic blood pressure or readings of 80 mmHg and
higher for the diastolic measurement. That is a change from the old definition of 140/90 and
higher indicating that complications can occur at those (130/80) lower numbers (American
College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, 2017).

It can be classified etiologically as primary (essential) and secondary hypertension. About


ninety percent (90%) of cases are primary, defined as high blood pressure attributed to
nonspecific, lifestyle and genetic factors, whereas the remaining ten percent (10%) is as a
result of identifiable causes such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), renal artery stenosis
(narrowing), coarctation of the aorta, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, neurological causes,
endocrine disorders (acromegaly, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism,
cushing syndrome, pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma, or may be caused by the use of drugs
such as Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, (NSAIDS). Birth control pills (oral
contraceptives), atypical antipsychotics (clozapine, olanzapine), decongestants
(phenylephrine, pseudoepherine), amphetamines (amphetamine, methylpheridate,
dexamethylpheridate, dextroamphetamine), recreational drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine),
angiogenesis inhibitors (bevacizumab), antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors,
serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants), systemic
corticosteroids (dexamethasone, fludrocortisones, prednisolone) and mineralocortcoids. The
risk factors for developing primary hypertension stem from familial predilection, male
gender, and stress to lifestyle risk factors which include excess salt in the diet, excess body
weight, excess fat/cholesterol intake, smoking, lack of physical exercise and excessive
alcohol intake (Carretero and Oparil, 2000).

Many patients who suffer from this condition may not be aware of it early because it is rarely
accompanied by symptoms and its identification is usually through screening, or when
seeking healthcare for an unrelated ailment. Symptoms only show when very high which
include headache (particularly at the back of the head), palpitations, lightheadedness, vertigo,
tinnitus (buzzing or hissing in the ears), dizziness, altered vision or fainting episodes (Longo
et al., 2012). The goal of hypertension management is to prevent short and long term
complications which can be achieved by maintaining the blood pressure reading of less than
130/80 mmHg. Controlling hypertension by changing lifestyle habits could decrease the cost
of health care by decreasing the use of pharmacological and invasive cardiovascular
treatments.

Good knowledge, positive attitudes and life style modifications of patients play an important
role in the controlling of hypertension by maintaining its readings below 130/80 mmHg
because as patients become aware of various aspects of hypertension, particularly modifiable
risk factors, they tend to have good practices and be able to adhere to medication. Most
studies conducted (Shaikh et al., 2012; Anowie and Darkwa, 2015; Abd El-Hay and El
Mezayen, 2015; Shrestha et al., 2016) show poor knowledge, attitudes and preventive
practices on the subject. However, no study has been conducted at Buchi Clinic, Kitwe,
Zambia.

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Methodology
A prospective cross sectional study was employed at outpatient department, Buchi clinic
Kitwe, Zambia on hypertensive patients who come for review and to collect their monthly
medications. Random sampling method was used to select a total of 90 participants.

Patients who were included in the study were above 25 years of age attending the
outpatient department at Buchi clinic within the stipulated time of study duration, on
antihypertensive medication and willing to participate by the act of signing the
informed consent.

The data on pre-existing KAP was collected using suitably designed questionnaire through an
interview method. The first part of the questionnaire was made up of socio-demographic
information which included age, sex, marital status, level of education, occupation and
duration of hypertension. There were 16 questions assessing knowledge, 5 questions
assessing attitude and 9 questions assessing practice. The questionnaire was prepared in
English but the interviewer translated it in the language preferred by the participant (bemba
or Nyanja) when carrying out the interview.

Knowledge and attitude answers were scored one for correct and zero for incorrect or “I don’t
know” making a total of 16 and 5 respectively. On the other hand, the practice answers were
scored two for frequent adherence towards the guidelines, one for occasional adherence and
zero for non-adherence (never) for all the questions except question 4, 7 and 8 in which
“never” was scored two, “occasional” was scored one and “frequent” was scored zero
summing up to a total of 18.

The total score for each outcome variable was obtained by adding the score obtained from
each question. The knowledge score were then categorized into poor (0–6), average (7–11)
and good (12-16). The attitude sores were categorized as poor (1-2), average (3) and good (4–
5). As for the practice scores, the categories were poor (0–6), average (7–12) and good (13–
18). The results of the questionnaires were entered and descriptive statistics were performed
with IBM-SPSS version 20.

The protocol was submitted to the Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) Research
Ethics Committee for approval and permission was granted (IRB Registration Number:
00002911 and FWA Number 00003729). Permission was also sought from provincial and
district health offices and was granted. Informed consent was obtained from willing
participants. The anonymity and confidentiality of the data collected was upheld as no form
of identification linked the questionnaire to any particular participant.

Results
Socio-demographic factors
There were a total number of 90 hypertensive patients who took part in the study representing
100% response rate. Out of this number, 70 (78.8%) were female. Age ranged from 36 to 83
years with mean and median of 59.3 and 61.0 respectively. The majority (52.2%) were
between ages 45–64 as table 1 shows. Among the total participants, more than half (51.1%)
had received only primary level of education, followed by 29 (32.2%) who received
secondary education. Over two thirds (61.1%) of the participants were married followed by
24 (26.7%) widows as shown in table 1. Similarly, more than three quarters (77.8%) were
unemployed. The majority (54.4%) had hypertension for more than 5 years as illustrated in
table 1.

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Table 1. Socio-demographic Variables (N= 90)
Variables Frequency Percentage
(N) (%)
Age of Participants
25 – 44 9 10.0
45 – 64 47 52.2
65 and above 34 37.8
Total 90 100
Sex of Participants
Male 20 22.2
Female 70 77.8
Maritial Status of Participants
Never married 3 3.3
Married 55 61.1
Divorced 8 8.9
Widow/widower 24 26.7
Total 90 100
Education Level of Participants
Never went to school 10 11.1
Primary education 46 51.1
Secondary education 29 32.2
Tertiary education 5 5.6
Total 90 100
Occupation of Participants
Government employee 3 3.3
Non-government employee 2 2.2
Self employed 2 2.2
Unemployed 70 77.8
Others 13 14.4
Total 90 100
Duration of Hypertension
<1 6 6.7
1-2 18 20.0
3-4 17 18.9
5 and more 49 54.4
Total 90 100
Others = retirees, business persons etc

Knowledge, attitude and practice scores


The mean and median knowledge (total score 16), attitude (total score= 5) and practice (total
score=18) scores were 8.5 and 9, 4.52 and 5, and 11.02 and 11 respectively (table 2). Most of
the patients (60.0%) who participated had average knowledge followed by poor (24.4%). A
similar outcome was observed for practice where the majority (70.0%) had average followed
by those with good practice (27, 30%). As for attitude, those with good attitude stood at 75
(83.3%) and the rest had average as depicted in table 2.

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Table 2. Knowledge, attitude and practice results (N = 90)
Variables Frequency (N) Percent (%) Median (mean)
Knowledge
Poor 22 24.4 9.0 (8.54)
Average 54 60.0
Good 14 15.6
Attitude
Average 15 16.7 5.0 (4.52)
Good 75 83.3
Practice
Average 63 70 11.0 (11.02)
Good 27 30
Total 90 100

Knowledge
Most of the participants (93.3%) identified stress, as one of the factors that can lead to
hypertension. The majority were also able to identify high fat/cholesterol intake (87.8),
excessive salt intake (83.3%), being overweight (70%) and excessive alcohol intake (62.2) as
risk factors for developing hypertension. However, only a few knew that some drugs can
cause hypertension (3.3%) and that antihypertensive medication may lower blood pressure
below normal (36.7) as table 3 shows below.

Table 3. Correct response of patients towards knowledge


Questions Frequency Percentage
(N) (%)
Do you know the normal BP readings? 6 6.7
Do you know what high BP is? 6 6.7
Does family history of hypertension increase risk 43 47.8
for developing high BP?
Is excessive salt intake one of the risk factors for 75 83.3
developing high BP?
Is excessive alcohol intake one of the risk factors 56 62.2
for developing high BP?
Is being overweight a risk factors for developing 63 70.0
high BP?
Is being older a risk factor for hypertension? 40 44.4
Is inactivity is a risk factor for hypertension? 52 57.8
Can stress lead to hypertension? 84 93.3
Is high cholesterol/fat intake a risk factor for 79 87.8
hypertension?
Do you know the symptoms of high BP? 72 80.0
Can drugs cause hypertension? 3 3.3
Do you know how high BP is managed? 59 65.3
Do you have to take antihypertensives for life long? 53 58.9
Can antihypertensives lower BP below normal at 33 36.7
times?
Do you know what complications can arise if BP is 43 47.8
not controlled?

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Attitude
Over three quarters of patients gave correct answers to all the attitude questions with the
lowest response coming from a question concerning attitude towards regular medication
(table 4).

Table 4. Correct response of patients towards attitude (N= 90)


Questions Frequency Percentage
(N) (%)
Should we reduce salt intake to prevent hypertension? 87 96.7
Do you think regular checking of BP is important? 90 100
Should we keep in touch with physicians regularly? 90 100
Do you think regular medication is important in 69 76.7
hypertension?
Should we exercise regularly for a healthy life? 74 82.2

Practice
Most patients never smoked (91.1%) or consumed alcohol (76.7%) with only 34 (37.8) who
both reduced their salt intake and consulted their health care providers frequently (table 5). In
terms of compliance with antihypertensive medication, 25 (27.8%) frequently missed a dose
of their medication with those who occasionally and never missed being 48 (53.3%) and 17
(18.9%) respectively (table 5).

Table 5. Correct response of patients towards practice (N= 90)


Questions Frequently Occasionally Never
n(%) n(%) n(%)
How often do you measure your BP? 18 (20.0) 68 (75.6) 4 (4.4)
How often do you moderate your 34 (37.8) 48 (53.3) 8 (8.9)
salt intake?
How often do you avoid fatty foods 31 (34.4) 50 (55.6) 9 (10.0)
consumption?
How often do you consume alcohol? 4 (4.4) 17 (76.7) 69 (76.7)
How often do your perform physical 6 (6.7) 44 (48.9) 40 (44.4)
exercise?
How often do you check your body 5 (5.6) 58 (64.4) 27 (30.0)
weight?
How often do you smoke? 1 (1.1) 7 (7.8) 82 (91.1)
How often do you miss the dose of 25 (27.8) 48 (53.3) 17 (18.9)
your medication?
How often do you consult your 34 (37.8) 53 (58.9) 1 (3.3)
health care provider?

Associations
There was statistically significant association between knowledge of hypertension and
practice (p =0.023) as shown in the table below.

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Table 6. Association of practice with socio-demographic factors, knowledge and attitude
Variables Practice Chi Square
Total (P- Value)
Average Good
Age 25 – 44 6 3 9
of participant 45 – 64 31 16 47 0.579
65 and above 26 8 34
Total 63 27 90
Sex Male 15 5 20
of participant Female 48 22 70 0.58
Total 63 27 90
Marital status of Not married 30 7 37
Participant Married 33 20 53 0.055
Total 63 27 90
Educational Not educated 9 1 10
level Basic 50 25 75
of participant education 0.281
Advanced 4 1 5
Education
Total 63 27 90
Occupation Employed 5 3 8
of participant Unemployed 58 24 82 0.628
Total 63 27 90
Duration Less than 5 32 9 41
of hypertension 5 and more 31 18 49 0.127
Total 63 27 90
Knowledge Poor 20 2 22
Average 36 18 54 0.023
Good 7 7 14
Total 63 27 90

Discussion
Regarding socio-demographic characteristics of the participants, the study results revealed
that the majority of the patients were aged 45–64 years (table 1) which is in line with a study
conducted by Abd El-Hay and El Mezayen (2015) where 60.4% of their participants were
aged between 55–64 years old. This was also in agreement with Tam et al., (2014) and
Wright et al., (2011) who said that in their studies carried out in USA to investigate the
prevalence of hypertension by age group and gender, there was a high prevalence of
hypertension among older adults. Those aged 65 and above however may not have been more
probably because the average life expectancy for Africans without HIV/AIDS stands at 64.5
and 71.5 years for male and female respectively (Statistics South Africa, 2018) suggesting
that, most might have died.

In terms of sex, the group studied had more female participants which is similar to Abd El-
Hay and El Mezayen (2015). This may attributed to the effect of postmenopausal hormone
deficiency and may be due to the fact observed in our study that 26.7% of the participants
were widows compared to zero widowers which may suggest that more males might have
died in comparison with their opposite sex. This is not in any way different from Al-Wehedy
et al., (2014) who reported that in their study, hypertension was encountered more among

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females than males due to many risk factors as changes in hormones that affect females more.
Other studies elsewhere have reported similar trends (Eugene and Bourne, 2013; Anowie and
Darkwa, 2015).

As regard to employment status and level of education, most of our participants were
unemployed due to either only having reached up to primary level of education or not
educated at all. This was in the same line with Bani (2011), and Abd El-Hay and El Mezayen
(2015) who found in their study that hypertension was more prevalent among person with
low level of education, retired persons, and persons with large family size.

The current status of knowledge, attitude and practice of hypertension among the
hypertensive patients at Buchi Clinic (Kitwe, Zambia) was explored. The study showed the
overall KAP scores for knowledge and practice to be average whereas that for attitude to be
good. This study is similar to that conducted by Shrestha et al., (2016) who found the overall
KAP scores to be “medium” except knowledge that seemed to be at a better position than the
other two scores.

The goal of hypertension management is to prevent short and long term complications which
can be achieved by maintaining the blood pressure reading of less than 130/80 mmHg
(American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, 2017). Knowledge and life
style modifications of patients play an important role in the controlling of hypertension.
However, most participants in our study neither knew the normal BP readings nor were able
to define hypertension correctly. A few who were able to answer, were noticed to have had
reached tertiary level of education. These findings were in agreement with Rakumakoe
(2011), even though his results (only 42% knew what their normal BP should be) were better
than ours.

Factors associated with the development of hypertension can be put into two categories:
modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors are characteristics,
attributes, exposures or life style patterns that can be adjusted or changed to prevent
development of the disease. These include obesity, physical inactivity, excessive salt intake,
excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use, high cholesterol/fat diet etc. On the other hand,
non-modifiable risk factors are characteristics or attributes in the individual that cannot be
adjusted or changed hence they are out of control as little or nothing can be done to control
them. These include age, sex, race, family history, genetic predilection etc. Knowledge of the
risk factors is vital in preventing and managing hypertension (Ibekwe, 2015).

In our study, the majority of participants were able to identify stress, high cholesterol/fat
intake, excessive salt intake, being overweight, excessive alcohol intake, and inactivity in that
order to be risk factors for developing the hypertension. However, only a few could identify
old age and family history to be risk factors for developing hypertension. This was in
agreement with Aubert et al., (1998) who observed that high proportion of participants
showed good basic knowledge on hypertension for example. Similarly, Ali et al., (2006)
reported that the participants in their study were aware of stress, excessive salt intake and
obesity as risk factors for hypertension even though they demonstrated poor awareness with
regards to excessive alcohol intake, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle which is in the same
line with Shaikh et al., (2011).

Despite having average basic knowledge, specific information about hypertension was shaky.
More than three quarters knew at least one symptom of hypertension. Most of the symptoms

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listed were headache (occipital), palpitations, fatigue and tiredness. This was in line with Kofi
(2011). However, only a few could say that hypertension may be asymptomatic. Similarly,
more than half knew that antihypertensive medication should be taken for life long. They
reported having received this information from their physicians, though some of them still
believed that one may consider stopping medication if the BP normalizes. On the contrary,
less than half had knowledge of at least one complication that can arise if hypertension is not
controlled. Furthermore, the majority did not know that antihypertensive medication may
lower BP below normal values, and over 95% lacked information about drugs causing
hypertension. A few who demonstrated better knowledge on specific information were
observed to be those who were employed and had reached up to tertiary level of education.

Shaikh et al., (2012) held the same observation as their study revealed that educated people
had better understanding of hypertension than patients who were less educated. Educated
people were able to understand the complications of blood pressure more effectively. This
was also in agreement with Anowie and Darkwa (2015), and Abd El-Hay and El Mezayen
(2015). However, it contradicted with Kumar et al., (2015) who said that most of the
hypertensive patients didn’t have any knowledge about signs and symptoms and
complications of hypertension which is a worrying finding in their study.

As for attitude, the findings of our study was better than a research done by Parmar et al.,
(2014) where they observed poor score in attitude part of the questionnaire as only 45.2 %
had positive attitude towards exercise compared to our study where there was 82.2% positive
attitude response towards exercise. As earlier stated, the overall attitude score in our study
was good with the lowest response coming from a question on whether they think regular
medication is important in hypertension. This question’s lower response compared to the
other attitude questions may be attributed to the fact that some patients held a perception that
antihypertensive medication actually raises their blood pressure. Side effects of these drugs
could have been another contributing factor.

Salt reduction has been suggested as a possible adjunct to pharmacologic treatment to


enhance blood pressure control. Several studies have investigated this matter and found that,
for hypertensive patients who are receiving antihypertensive medication; salt restriction
provides additional benefits in terms of blood pressure control (Dennison et al., 2007).
Reduced intake of dietary sodium to 1.5g/day is seen to have an estimated reduction in
Systolic Blood Pressure of 6 mm Hg in hypertensive patients (American College of
Cardiology/American Heart Association, 2017). The majority of the subjects in our study had
a better understanding and attitude towards the risk of excessive salt intake to prevent
hypertension. However, the practice of salt moderation of our study population was not very
impressive. This implies that patients know that they have to moderate their salt intake but
they may not have adequate knowledge on total daily intake, dietary plan or even
management aspect of their salt intake. This also applies to other dietary habits such as fatty
food consumption.

Physical activity has often been used in conjunction with weight reduction strategies as
adjuncts to pharmacological management for the treatment of hypertension. Physical activity
of about 120–150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise is approximated to have 8 mm Hg
decrease in SBP (systolic blood pressure), 90–150 minutes per week of dynamic resistance (6
exercises, 3 sets/exercise, 10 repetitions/set) offers a reduction in SBP approximated to be at
4mm Hg, three sessions per week of isometric resistance (4 x 2min, 1 min rest between
exercises) is approximated to give a SBP reduction of 5 mm Hg (American College of

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Cardiology/American Heart Association, 2017). However, practice of exercise in our study
was found to be poor. This was in agreement with Shretha et al., (2015) who reported that
both attitude and practice of exercise was found poor in their study, though the attitude in our
study was found to be good.

Our study found that the practice of the hypertensive patients at Buchi Clinic, Kitwe Zambia
with regard to the medication adherence was at inferior position. The reasons for poor
compliance included non-availability of antihypertensive medication at local clinics near their
(patients) residence, unpleasant drug side effects, insufficient specific information about
hypertension, forgetfulness and poly-pharmacy (administration of many different drugs
concurrently). Shrestha et al., (2015) also reported poor compliance with medication which
was thought to be higher in males (Jin, 2008). They attributed this to the side effect of
impotence caused by some antihypertensive medication that includes thiazides, beta-blockers
and alpha-blockers (James, 2014). However, their study population had 20% higher number
of males than females which they thought might have contributed to the number of
individuals missing the dose of medication occasionally or frequently. On the contrary, our
study had more females but still the compliance was poor.

Statistically significantly association was found between knowledge about hypertension and
practices towards hypertension at p = 0.023. This implies that good knowledge brings about
positive practices which favour a healthy lifestyle and prevents the development of
complications. This was in agreement with Sa’adeh et al., (2018) who found higher total
knowledge (p= 0.001) to be statistically significantly associated with higher practice scores
towards CKD prevention.

Conclusion and recommendations


The current knowledge and practice of hypertensive patients towards hypertension at
Buchi Clinic, Kitwe, Zambia is inadequate while the attitude is good but not sufficient
enough. Efforts should be channeled towards improving the levels of knowledge of
hypertensive patients through adequate information, education and communication using
the both print and audio-visual media. To enhance drug adherence, the clinicians should
prescribe the minimal doses but best combinations and government should ensure availability
of antihypertensive drugs in all government health facilities.

Study Limitation
Knowledge, attitudes and practices assessment from population surveys invariably poses the
challenge of social desirability, whereby respondents tend to be reluctant to admit poor
socially recognized attitudes and practices to avoid giving a negative impression (Welte et
al., 1998). Our study was not an exception, however, attempts to limit socially desirable or
induced answers were made in our study as KAP questions pertaining to specific sensitive
topics (eg, alcohol habits, overweight, lack of exercise, smoking) were embedded among
questions relating to other issues to make questions appear as ordinary as possible.

Author’s contribution
II conceptualized the study, participated in protocol preparations, data collections, analysis,
interpretation, drafting and revision of manuscript. EK participated in conceptualization of
the study, data analysis and interpretation, and revision of manuscript. VM supervised data
analysis, interpretation of findings and preparation of manuscript.

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